new to fertilizing need good advice

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by J&T, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. J&T

    J&T LawnSite Member
    from NEPA
    Messages: 5

    I have a job that needs some fertilizing done to various shrubs and some dogwoods. The area is like a desert. beds are in between main roads and a parking lot. There are approximetly 50 shrubs. the area is mulched with a weed barrier. What are some suggestions on what to use and in what form whether it be liquid or granular. I am not so familiar in the fertilizing area and need some advice. thanks
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Only fertilize hardwoods if there is an obvious deficiency... the best thing for trees and shrub is an occasional flooding...
    Rapid growth of water shoots, is not a desired growth habit for trees and shrubs... :)
  3. Ferris68

    Ferris68 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    Have the soil tested to see what, if anything needs to be added. You cant go wrong that way.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Be sure it is understood,,, testing for what?

    I don't believe that testers really differentiate between soil growing ntrees and soil growing corn... the 'test results' are going to be 2 very different things... Would you even be interestted in the pH in a test for trees/shrubs???
  5. Ferris68

    Ferris68 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    Yes you would be interested in the soil pH for trees & shrubs. Every tree and shrub has an ideal pH and will perform best when growing in soil closest to that number. With that said a soil test is for much more than just pH. The following link is from the university of missouri.

    My recommendation to anyone starting out is that you make yourself familiar with the University Extension closest to the area you plan to work. The information is usually free and it comes from people who are familiar with your area. Information on mowing, fertilizing, pruning, soil testing etc...
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    What are you going to do if don't like the pH that your shrub and trees are growing in...?

    How many feet away from one trunk to you test for? and how deep?

    Most domestic landscapes have several inches of topsoil brought in for their turf and flowers... When I plant trees/shrubs, I'm always below this level...

    At the risk of getting "Overly Complicated" , one need to think about where those tree roots are growing... :)
  7. TooMuchClay

    TooMuchClay LawnSite Member
    from DE
    Messages: 80

    I go to our local cooperative extension service for soil tests, and pay about $10, and give them random samples from the desired areas, and they return me a very comprehensive report on the soil conditions. They always give ph, as well as soil makeup, nutrient and mineral levels, how well it will drain, everything you'd need.

    So in our area you wouldnt have to tell them what info you need, they tell you everything automatically. I think thats the type of test that Ferris68 was talking about.

    That would definitely be your best bet to get started. You cant go wrong with it. Plus it makes you look more organized and professional to the client.

    But from my early experience when I didnt have the type of expensive tree and shrub deep root feeding equipment, I would buy Miracle Grow water soluble fertilizer, mix it in a miracle grow hose end sprayer, and follow the label instructions. :clapping:

    I've done that for many clients, and in some cases I've seen dramatic results later on. It doesnt reach the roots of larger trees in a big hurry, but it will gradually work its way into the soil, plus you spray it on the foliage, so it works that way too. I've never injured any plants doing it, but there are some plants I avoid if they are sensitive to any chemicals, like expensive lace-leaf maples(although I fertilized mine this spring with MG). I also dont bother with really large trees, anything over maybe 6" diameter trunk.

    I think its much better than nothing, and it definitely helps. In our area in the southeast Pa, N DE, N MD region the soil is poor, and has little nutrients.

    Get a soil test, a hose end sprayer, and some Miracle grow or Vigoro water soluble plant food from Lowes. Follow instructions!
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Fertilizing trees/shrubs creates succulent/weak growth attractive to insects/disease...

    Changing the pH in the root zone is a real funny idea...

    Do what you feel... :)

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